Les Petits Chefs make Jamie Oliver’s meatloaf

I’ve had a hankering for meatloaf lately so I figured I would put Les Petits Chefs to work this week with Jamie Oliver’s meatloaf recipe. Since time is of the essence in cooking club (we have an hour from start to pickup), I knew there was no way we would be able to make a full-sized meatloaf so instead we made mini-meatloaves. I did enjoy this recipe a lot – even though we had – ahem – some slight changes (it helps when you remember to put in all the ingredients!) and will be trying it again soon in full size!

We chopped onions and crushed crackers…

Got to play with raw meat and eggs…

Got to mash up the meat, eggs, crackers and onions and then make tiny little meatloaf patties….

Some of us got to cut up the slimy bacon….

And topped our mealoaf patties with the bacon…
Whilst the meat was cooking, we set to making the sauce, adding the mustard and balsamic to the sauce (since I had forgotten them in the meat).


These were really tasty – I loved the sauce for these and can see it working on pasta or other meat dishes too. And really, anything topped with bacon has got to be good, right?

Jamie Oliver's meatloaf

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr

An easy meatloaf, adapted from a Jamie Oliver favourite. So easy the kids can help!

Yields 6


  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 12 unsalted soda crackers
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 500g good-quality minced beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 slices of smoked bacon or pancetta
  • fresh chopped rosemary to serve(
  • for the sauce) olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 800g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 heaped tsp dijon mustard


  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
  2. Place the onion in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat with 2 generous gluts of olive oil. Add the cumin and coriander and fry, stirring every 30 seconds, for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. Remove to a large bowl to cool.
  3. Crush the crackers with your hands until you have fine crumbs.
  4. Add to the bowl of onion with the oregano and minced beef. Crack in the egg and add a really good pinch of salt and pepper. With clean hands, scrunch and mix up well.
  5. Move the meat mixture to a board, then pat and mould it into a large, rugby-ball shape.
  6. Lay the strips of bacon over the width of the loaf.
  7. Place the meatloaf in a casserole-type pan or baking dish, put it in the preheated oven then immediately reduce the temperature to 350˚F and cook for 40 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, for the sauce, place the garlic in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat with 2 glugs of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until soft - about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chick peas, rosemary, balsamic and mustard and cook for around 15 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  9. Using a potato masher or an immersion blender, mash the mixture until the chick peas are no longer obvious.
  10. Slice the meatloaf and serve atop the sauce. Sprinkle with some fresh chopped rosemary.


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25 Responses to Les Petits Chefs make Jamie Oliver’s meatloaf

  1. Kiri W. November 9, 2011 at 07:56 #

    Looks tender, moist and flavorful – great job! I love the pictures with those pristine aprons while making meatloaf! Impressive.

  2. Jen Laceda November 9, 2011 at 08:15 #

    YES! Anything topped with bacon is awesome!! I even had a maple bacon cupcake from Liberty Village’s For the Love of Cake…and it was soooo good! Your boys are very lucky to have you as a teacher 🙂 You’re teaching a whole new generation of future family men to cook…or at least have appreciation for the kind of work that goes into cooking / baking 🙂

  3. Mr. Neil November 9, 2011 at 08:57 #

    Sorry, LPC…I have to say, my lunch bucket sampler the next day was a definite “miss”. 🙁

    PERHAPS it was my hectic day, but the sauce was unbalanced, garlic slices raw, and meatloaf seemed dull.

    I’ll try again some evening with a full one, and a bottle of Pirorat. 🙂

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite November 9, 2011 at 09:04 #

      Aw so sorry – because I really liked this one. Maybe being so small and reheated they got a bit dry. Surprised you had raw garlic in there – it cooked for a good 10 minutes before we added the tomatoes. And I really loved the sauce.

  4. Jill Colonna November 9, 2011 at 10:46 #

    Mardi, I bet the Mums would be so happy seeing these at pickup. The minis are a great idea for the Petits Chefs!

  5. Liz November 9, 2011 at 14:39 #

    I adore meatloaf…and your minis looks amazing! What a great idea for your day with the Petits Chefs!

  6. Cucina49 November 9, 2011 at 16:35 #

    That looks great–love that you’ve made a mini version!

  7. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction November 9, 2011 at 21:13 #

    This meatloaf looks great! Meatloaf is one of my favorite comfort foods… Have to give this recipe a try!

  8. K A B L O O E Y November 9, 2011 at 21:14 #

    Wow, Mr. Neil wasn’t mincing words. Good to know you can get an honest critique, I guess, but finding out in print (or whatever this is) is tough. That said, these do look tasty and I agree wholeheartedly that everything’s better with bacon. My favorite part of the recipe is the instruction to “mash the chick peas until they are no longer obvious.” Even Mooch doesn’t like chick peas, so I didn’t know how they were supposed to go over with the kids.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite November 9, 2011 at 21:29 #

      That was actually my addition to the recipe 🙂 All the boys here eat hummus on a regular basis on the lunch program so I know they do like chick peas and all mashed in, if they hadn’t seen them go in, they might not even have noticed 🙂

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite November 9, 2011 at 22:44 #

      Also, it’s not specifically a recipe for kids – I make regular versions of things with the boys to expand their tastebuds and I know that even if the boys taste and don’t like (which is all I ask), the parents will most likely eat the rest 😉

  9. Cindy November 9, 2011 at 23:08 #

    Such a wonderful recipe,
    The meatloaf looks so moist and yummy, good job!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite November 14, 2011 at 16:30 #

      Well I liked it and so did the boys – just some of the pickier eaters (ahem, Mr Neil) didn’t!

  10. Paula November 10, 2011 at 10:26 #

    What a fun class this was for Les Petits Chefs. Great idea to make mini meatloafs Mardi. (should I have written meatloaves?…)

  11. Cher November 10, 2011 at 12:47 #

    I love these posts 🙂

  12. penny aka jeroxie November 13, 2011 at 05:38 #

    little baby meat loafs… nice 🙂

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